Stefanie Jackson: Wine-maker

Stefanie

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Stefanie: I was actually born in London, England. My folks moved back to the Bay Area (Pops is from Berkeley, Moms is from the UK) when I was 2, shortly before my brother, Ajayi’s birth–I’ve been in the Bay for the better part of 40 years and definitely call it home.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Stefanie: I technically got into winemaking 11 years ago. I found myself completely disillusioned with the work I was doing and the life I was building AND the example I was setting for my son; this existential awakening led me to ask myself what I WANTED my life to look like. I thought long and hard, plumbing the depths and looking for some deep spiritual answer–and then I realized I simply wanted it to look like a glass of wine. I quit my job and took a winemaking internship and that was it. I fell in love and found myself–I found home. Interestingly enough, when I look back on my childhood, one of my first memories was my first taste of Champagne–at the age of three. It was such a poignant moment in my life, even at that time, that I actually remember what I was wearing. In retrospect it seems that I knew my path at that moment and what I was meant to do albeit just a little ahead of my time.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Stefanie: I find my inspiration in a number of places…first and foremost in my son, Ajmal’s eyes, I am doing what I love and he needs to see that in order to be fearless and find that gift in and for himself. I am a scientist, an alchemist–and through winemaking I find I am able to honor that and share it with the people around me. Story has it that Jesus of Nazareth’s first miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding; I do that at each harvest, and believe you me, it is a miracle each and every time. It holds me in awe and I’m eternally grateful to be a part of the transmutation each and every time.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Stefanie: WOW! (lol) I almost forgot and had to dig in the proverbial crates in order to remember this one…The first piece of vinyl I ever bought, for myself, was none other than Blondie’s Eat to the Beat. I’d almost forgotten about that… Does it count that the first CD I bought was Gang Starr’s Step in the Arena? Can I please keep my street cred? j/k

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Stefanie: http://www.virgocellars.com/

Sizwe Andrews: HipHop Emcee, Educator, Father

Sizwe

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Sizwe: No, I am not a Bay Area Native but I took to the soil well..I really feel like my life began to flourish when I moved to Oakland. I moved out this way about 14 years ago via Southern California. I was born in Santa Ana, Ca but lived all over So. Cal from the IE to Inglewood.


Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on?
Sizwe: In all honesty I feel as if this path had been chosen for me by the Most High. My mother is a phenomenal High School teacher and my father is an amazing Jazz Musician. My household was always filled with the smell of soul food, soul music, and vibrant energy. Weather it was my Mother banging out to Aretha Franklin on Sunday Mornings or my Pops unwinding to Sun Ra, The music / good music has always been apart of my life. My older Brothers introduced me to Hip Hop and from that point it was all I saw and was inspired by for years. It was around 1995 when I linked up with my bredren, Jern Eye. In due time InI developed a brotherhood and love for the music that would create the vision and foundation for our group Lunar Heights. From various mixtapes, collabos, and solo projects, the Heightsmen catalog is definitely bigger than I ever would have anticipated back in 96. I just give thanx for the opportunities that have been provided for InI.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Sizwe: Inspiration has definitely taken different forms throughout my life. At this point I would simply say family. The work I do with the youth is also inspirational and adds fuel to the pen.


Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased?
Sizwe: My father and older brothers had so much vinyl that I didn’t have purchase wax until later in life. Was definitely crate digging heavy from ages 14 – 19, lookin for that “perfect sample”…My first tape was Eazy E’s “Eazy Duz It”. Does that Count? lol


Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?
Sizwe: Just Gratitude for all the Love I have received throughout the years…Hopefully I have been able to be a reflection of all that you have given……

Close Yours eyes to truly see…Peace!

Judy Quea: Food Activist

Judy

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Judy: I was born in Santa Clara in 1971… native baby. 43 years

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Judy: I started on my creative path probably when I was 15 when I realized I wanted to heal my family and make a difference in the food industry from corporate to grass roots.. By reviving our traditional foods and integrating feeding the masses on a micro to macro level.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Judy: I found my inspiration from experiencing first hand the life of a first generation Portuguese/Peruvian immigrant up-bringing. From watching my entire family work hard and smart when they came to this country… both sides of my family got along great and we cared for eachother’s children while working nights etc to create a foundation and we all hung tight. I learned love. Music. Food. Integrity. Social skills. Sharing. And having my ideas and decisions always supported by my parents to go do you but with compassion and follow through. Be your word. That’s all you have when you have little πŸ™‚

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Judy: I think first piece of vinyl was Salt and Pepper’s “Push It” with the remix but I collected 8 tracks before cassettes were created.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Judy: EAT WELL TAKE CARE OF YOUR TRIBE AND YOU WILL BE WELL! If you want to change the world. Start with your family….

Cynthia Toliver: Chef

Cynthia

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Cynthia: NO. I’ve lived here 3 years this month (Nov 2014). This is the 3rd time I have lived here. The first time in 1971 for 3 years (in the Haight). The second time, in 1983, for 12 years (in Western Addition). I was born in Wilmington, NC and grew up in upstate New York.


Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on?
Cynthia: I’ve been cooking off and on for 30 years – and my specialty is vegan and vegetarian food. I’m working on a line of vegan & vegetarian soups. But I really love catering – all kinds of dishes – especially in California, where most vegetables are in season all year long!

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration?
Cynthia: From positive vibrations: meditation, reading, writing in my journal, and from intelligent, nice people.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Cynthia: Wes Montgomery – A Day in the Night – it’s how I got started loving jazz. I used to think it was Sunday music, but that quickly spread to every day of the week.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?
Cynthia: Never listen to the naysayers.
And my favorite: when one door closes, another opens.

http://www.ToliverWorksFood.com

Vanessa Solari Espinoza: DJ Agana, Muralist, Teacher

Agana12


Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay?
AGANA: I am Venezuelan and identify as Xicana from Oakland, Califaztlan.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? AGANA: My creative path started in the womb and continues to grow with every wall with my crews, Few and Far Women, TDK and Ex-Vandals.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? AGANA: My inspiration comes from within, finding my own style and constantly elevating my skills and refining my craft.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? AGANA: The first vinyl I purchased was Alice Coltrane in a Salvation Army thrift store for ten cents, her musical legacy continues to inspire my art.


Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?

“HECHALE CON GANAS” – DJ AGANA

Angela Louie Howard: Executive Director of Lotus Bloom

Angela

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Angela: Yes, since 1979 in SF.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Angela: When I turned 18 years old (about 20 years ago).

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Angela: Inspiration = What feels good and has a good vibe! I was finally able to tap into my own feelings (something I was taught to withhold).

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Angela: First piece of vinyl was Donna Summer’s She works hard for her Money

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Angela:

“Risk”
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and
dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because
the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing,
has nothing, is nothing.

– William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

Mark Wright: Jazz Trumpeter

Mark

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Mark: Oui… B-town forever baby… 45 yrs now. lol

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Mark: when I was 18yrs old and I’ve been on my creative path to be the best musician & human being that I can be ever since.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Mark: from my Ma,the Ancestors, and Musicians who are here and who have passed on.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Mark: I can’t remember my age (teenager I guess) but SUPER RHYMES by JIMMY SPICER,who happens to be on FB, and COUNT COOLOUT were my first. I bought them at Reids Records owned by Ms. Betty Soskin, a Rosie The Riveter who is 92 or 93yrs old and currently works as a tour guide. I bought them with a $10 dollar row of quarters lmao…

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Mark: “you can’t please everybody….it’s death if one tries to do so” AND “You are never as good as you think you are nor as bad as people say you are” both by drum roll………..SAMMY DAVIS JR πŸ˜‰